Andre, I think you know your fashion stuff do you work in the industry? As a women I would love to see more men wear tuxes.I got spoiled by my last boyfriend, a metro male who owned not one but several tuxedos and beautiful custom made french cuff shirts, expensive gold cufflinks (which I brought him) etc. But now I need your opinion about my formal night. Im on Carnival so Im guessing its more laid back, but I put up a post and no one has answered it, please see my post on this board under CCL Legend how formal and please give me your opinion of the dress I brought maybe I should just wear it to one of the lounges and get something much more glamorous. Please help my cruise is comming up fast.
I admit, I am a traditionalist, and when I see "formal" I think tuxedo.
I know that many like to do "what they feel comfortable" with, and that "it is a vacation", but I still believe that if the cruise line suggests formal attire, that passengers should comply with that, or opt for the alternative dining.
I know, too, the line says a dark suit is acceptable, and that is fine as well.
It is a long way, though, from suggested black tie or dark suit, to khakis and a nice shirt.
It IS a long way! But now that you can get a perfectly serviceable complete tux for less than $200 from JC Penny, maybe we'll start seeing more people willing to dress up.
Personally, I just don't understand why any man, given the opportunity, wouldn't want to try black tie. Just about EVERY man looks great in it and if you think of it as only fantasy - that's even better! With so few legitimate black tie events left, given the chance, I'd rather wear a tux than jeans any day!
A few recalcitrant slobs aside, I just think most men are intimidated and mystified by the aura and the how-to of black tie dressing. If this post helps them, then that's its intent. Not to convert the hopeless.
Being uninformed or willfully ignoring information availalble, very often PUTS one out of place.
This being a cruiseship board, I could say that wearing a suit and tie on formal nights is all you have to do, and that would be correct information, but it would not be teaching anyone anything. Most people, do what they do, because that's what they have always done. Most people avoid the new, not because they don't want it, but because they don't understand it and don't want to feel foolish by asking (I'm sure every woman here has experienced that with her husband - I know my wife has).
My goal is not to force anybody into doing anything, but simply to inform. Sometimes that means long explanations and sometimes that means disagreeing with the erroneous information that most people might accept as being true. Maybe this information is useless to you, maybe you know all about black tie dressing or feel it's unimportant to know. That's fine by me. But for every one of you, there's at least one man who would like to wear a tux sometimes, but hasn't a clue about it and doesn't feel comfortable asking. These days, cruising is a major cause of this. For that, I think it's appropriate.
First , I would like to Thank You for expanding my Learning Curve in a gracious attutude " Formal Wear" for men who ( I for one) like to dress my best and to round off the rough edges a bit .
Second, I also wear/ wore a vest ( thought it look cool ) but now I will change to the cb ( it's all good) So there.. I am ONE of those guys who likes to wear a tux ( at least once a year! )
Nothing against vests really, it's just more of a wedding or informal-formal look. It's generally worn either in weddings (presumably to add some color variation), or to add individuality to black tie situations (think celebs at awards). Personally, I think that the classic look is classier because it doesn't have a pretense of hipness.
Plus, one less layer of clothing is nice when you are in situations (as any black tie event would be) where removing your jacket would be really classless!
As an aside, I read somewhere once that when buying a tuxedo vest, the "better" ones are the ones with a full back to them, rather than the ones that have only a front, and clip around the back like a cummerbund. The reason for this, the article contended, is it looks better when you take your coat off. I agree that it would look better (and is probably a more proper choice ultimately), but since you don't take your jacket off anyway...
I prefer the classic look, and I think it's always the appropriate place to start.
> JC Penny now sells a cheap complete tuxedo set. It comes in
> three parts: Trousers, Jacket, and shirt set (which includes the
> tie, cummerbund, links, and maybe shirt studs [didn't notice
> anything about suspenders, but these are likely left out in
> this case]). All of this sells for about $130.
> Can't beat that!
Actually, you prolly can!
A large number "discount suit broker" venues in the States have pretty nice name brand tux's (jacket and trousers) for under $100US (Mine's a Pierre Cardin- yes, for $99 out the door)
Buy the shoes, shirt and cummerbund/tie on eBay for under $50 for the lot and you are into some SERIOUS cruiser dressage.
There are ALL KINDS of great options for cheap formal wear! Now some of you guys need to get off your butts and buy yourself a tux. If you can buy a tux for the price of a couple of good pairs of jeans...
You can't do anythng to help the unrepentantly casual, but any man willing to wear a suit, ought to be champing at the bit for a tux. No excuse not to.
(Now if you want to step it up a notch, learn to tie a bow tie and wear that instead of a clip-on. It'll add a whole new layer of cool [and yes, you can easily tell self-ties from clip-ons]).
sorry for the typ-o redhead. I'm in NY and there's a chain store called Syms here that sells name brand clothes at a discount. The thing they are really good at is they've got professional salespeople there who know how to measure you for a shirt, jacket and pants that'll fit you just as comfortably as your favorite pair of jeans and t-shirt. And for pants, shirt and jacket you'll probably spend around $125.
The thing is I can't figure out how any guy can't go without at least 1 decent outfit in his closet. I mean cruises notwithstanding, what do ya think you're going to wear to a wedding, or a funeral for pete's sake??
Wow, rochester, for the price it would be worth going to New York! My hubby is kind of hard to fit (not fat, but extremely muscular) and wouldn't mind dressing up if he was comfortable. I make sure he has a minimum of 1 winter suit / 1 summer suit in the closet because I always tell him you cannot plan for funerals. Weddings, yes, but not funerals. One of my pet peeves is people who show up at funerals looking like they just came from a hoe-down.
rochesterny - i totally agree with you. How can any man not have at least in his closet a dark suit for weddings, funerals. I don't get it. Do they attend weddings and funerals in jeans and a t-shirt????? The same thing can be said for the ladies also, every lady should have at least one dressy dress in her closet that she could wear to a wedding or funeral.
I am one of these folks who think this whole thing should be a non-issue. Formal is what formal is nothing more nothing less. When the dress code states formal that should be the end of it. It you don't want to get dressed-up then the cruise line gives you casual options.
I just read most of the postings on this subject. Being raised in the South by an oh-so-proper mother, I respect the "rules" and think they just add a layer of niceness to things. Our first cruise was actually two back-to-back, 10 day, Caribbean cruises (got the second for free!) For that reason, I was able to convince my frugal husband that buying a tuxedo was the way to go. It's a very tailored, classic design that will never go out of style and, as he doesn't tend to gain weight, should last him forever. With its acquisition, we've now had a couple of "black tie" or equivalent dinner parties and he'll wear it to my niece's nighttime wedding this fall. An unexpected benefit is that he took fewer clothes on the cruises. With two shirts he was beatifully dressed for all 6 formal nights on a 20 day cruise.
I've read a number of postings over the last couple of years on this subject. I honestly don't understand why it becomes such an issue. Not only do all ships have a buffet but don't they all have alternative restaurants also? If "formal" (or what the host has deemed an acceptable alternative) doesn't suit any passenger, there are plenty of options. On land there are restaurants where no one would go without the correct attire (hey, no tuxedoes in the local barbeque joint!) so I just really don't get it that this seems to cause never-ending conflict. We actually get tired of going out to dinner every night and some evenings will have room service. The nature of the cruise-beast seems to be that there's something for everyone. I don't interpret that as being anything goes everywhere. But I guess because the argument rages, few are going to change their minds.
I agree with you on the formal dinner. A tuxedo looks great on anyone.but most men do
not want to wear a tuxedo but a nice dark suit looks good also.
The women can wear a long black skirt and wear a different dressy blouse each
time. It saves a lot on packing.
You almost had me talked into the tux until you said "learn to tie a bow tie". I assume the store where I buy the tux can give me a course on the art of tying a bow tie. Is that a correct assumption? After all, it seems that even James Bond had to a have a lady tie his bow tie. How did the ladies learn to do that?
Thanks for all the help. I retired two years ago. Three or four years prior to my retirement ,my former employer made the move to 'business casual'. I bet I haven't had to wear a tie more than once or twice a year (Christmas parties and funerals) in about 5 or 6 years. Our first cruise is in March 2006. I haven't checked, but I'll bet my old suits don't fit any longer. I'll need a new suit (or tux) for the cruise. I've been skating by with grey slacks, blue blazer, shirt and tie for several years.
I've enjoyed reading all this great information. Thanks to everyone.
I bet you can learn to tie a bow tie. Not that it helps much, but it is essentially the same a shoelace knot. If you look around on the web, you will find the explanation with pics out there.
Certainly not a necessity, but I think it's a nice, elegant touch that shows you go the extra mile and didn't just slap on a suit you've never seen before.
Your self-tie will not look perfect, nobody's does, but that's part of the fun ("we don't need no stinkin' clip-on!") And a tux looks cooler with an untied bowtie than with no bowtie, when the time comes to get casual and walk the promenade deck with your sweetie and a glass of bubbly.
Well, every man needs a dark suit for various functions, but a nice tux is not all that expensive (a good dark suit is actually MORE expensive in general).
My wife was (probably still is) a tie fanatic. She's been known to see a great tie and then go looking for the perfect shirt. I used to hate to walk through the mens department. I'm sure I have well over 100 ties (couldn't force myself to give them away). I got pretty good at tying them, so I'm sure I can learn to tie the bow tie.
I was soooooo glad when our company went to business casual. I had to wear a tie in high school. It seems like I wore a tie for 30 years. I was glad to see them go.
Thanks for the help. I dragged the old dark grey suit (actually it was new when we went tie-less) out of the closet today. In all reality, no amount of exercise is going to get me back in that suit. I'm glad I don't cruise until March. I might as well try the tux while I'm out there shopping. A little exercise also seems to be in order. Thanks again! I enjoy this thread.
My husband retired from Levi Strauss so you can imagine how casual they became. His old "power suits" were SO out of style that they weren't even in the running for cruise attire. We found a very affordable tuxedo at the Men's Warehouse and I believe Andre looked around at Penneys? For the "semi-formal" nights, he wore a nice, silk, woven-type jacket (with a tie that, for some reason, he can still remember how to tie). I'm betting that you're going to think that you look pretty darn cute all spiffed up.
Andre, a question please. I'm out of town right now so don't have access, but I think my husband bow tie is too narrow at the ends. What do you recommend width-wise? I've really appreciated all your know-how. Thanks in advance.
Well unless the tie is either wildly big or wildly narrow, I wouldn't worry about it as such. (I'm assuming we are talking about the height of the wings, up and down, at the outer edges)
Actually, bow ties come in a variety of widths. You can find narrow ones that measure 1 1/2 inches, or wide ones up through about 3 1/2. Partly it's a matter of personal choice in style, and partly it's a matter of perhaps balancing the shape against the face shape of the person - like maybe someone with a huge head would make a narrow tie look miniscule and unbalanced.
I like a fuller look, without enetering clown territory, so my preference is for a tie about 2 1/2 inches in width. It's mostly personal preference though. I think self-ties tend to be wider, while clips tend to be narrower and more precise.
I see a lot of employees from my old company in restaurants around town , at lunch time. It seems that business casual has slipped to jeans and polo shirts. My how times change. Did your husband retire from Levi Strauss here in San Antonio?
I saw a television commercial for tuxedos at the Men's Warehouse. I'm going to check them out.
Andre, thanks again for the seemingly endless formal dress info.
Have a great day!
I've never been comfortable in coat and tie either, even though I've had to wear a tie most of my adult life. In a way, I'm going forward to dressing up a little. Retirement is GREAT not a whole lot of dress up opportunities/requirements (at least for me). My old suits are headed for the Salvation Army or such. I hate shopping, but I'm ready to cruise.
(Off subject, my husband worked for Levi's in San Francisco but visited San Antonio many, many times over the years.)
Thought I'd posted this before but I'm having computer problems so....
Andre, thanks for pointing me in the right direction. My husband DOES have a large head (more room for that big, beautiful brain of his) so I'm sure that's the issue regarding the size of the bow tie. Easy to remedy.
Andre, you still out there? Just got back from a place called The Men's Warehouse. They have single button, all wool, tuxedos with Satin lapels for $199. Looked pretty good to me. They have a bow tie/cummerbund set, but the bow tie is pre-tied with that strap thing that goes around your neck. I figure the whole outfit would run around $300, without shoes. So, J C Penney would be the lowest priced. Someday I'll stop by and look at their tuxedos. Next stop - the local men's Clothier (sp?). I'm sure the tux will be $400 - 500, but I bet they will have the self tie, bow tie. Thanks for all the info and inspiration.
MW has good stuff. I bought MY tux there way back when. (went with a middle price)
I am aware that they do not sell self-ties. Unfortunately, people are afraid of them, even though they are just as easy as a regular tie to deal with. You will likely have to either order a self-tie, or visit a more high-end dept store/clothier. (you can internet order them fairly cheap)
One informative thing you can do, however, at a shop like MW that has a range of selection, is compare tux's of different price ranges. When you look at the cheapest tux against the high-end stuff, you can see what makes the high-end more expensive (Note the quality and smoothness of the material). Tux's can give a rather unique opportunity to do that, since they are otherwise identical. (Working 100% from memory and first impressions, I thought the material on the JC Penny was better than the low end MW tux. I remember the MW low-end to be rougher than the fairly fine Penny's version. I may not be remembering correctly however, and in any case, I saw nothing at all to be ashamed of in the Pennys version.) Any tux looks great though.
My only qualm with the JC Penny one is the the set that has the shirt/links/tie/cummerbund only has the wing collars as a choice. Now lots of people, maybe most, prefer the wing collars (or at least think of them as proper tux shirts), but I really prefer the laydown collar (like you see on a regular business shirt). MY PERSONAL OPINION is that it is a cleaner look and makes the tux look like an evening suit, rather than just special occasion garb. In my mind, that's slightly cooler because it implies that you are comfortable wearing a tux for whatever occasion comes your way, not just hyper-special ones. My prefference would be that you buy the shirt separately so that you can choose as you like. Maybe that's just me though. To each his own on that though. (Hope I'm not sending you on another goose chase!)
There is a rather high-end clothier (love that word) not far from here. I'll check out the shirts and self tie bow ties there. Luckily I have plenty of time before I need to purchase the tux. Thanks for all the help. Where did you pick up all this information (ie never button the jacket)? Also, if you know, why two and three button tuxes? I think I've only seen the one button version. Of course, I don't really run in the tuxedo crowd. I almost messed up once when I was invited to an 'informal' Christmas party. Informal to me (20 years ago) was jeans. Fortunately, I wore a coat and tie. There were at least 3 tuxedos there.
I pick up stuff here and there. You can find books and internet sites that will explain a lot of this. Most men never bother looking though. None of it is a secret.
As far as the number of buttons, it's largely a matter of style changes. The traditional tux has one button and a shawl collar. Mine is a peaked collar with two buttons (like a suit coat). You can find them now all the way up to seven or eight buttons. To each his own, but when you start getting into the more radical styles, you are most likely to quickly fall out of style. A traditional tux with one or two buttons will always be appropriate. (since the buttons aren't really meant to be used, minimizing them is best)
It's interesting - about the jacket always remaining open. Dinner jackets evolved from tail coats. Tail coats, as you might know, were worn open over a white pique vest that WAS buttoned. I am assuming that when the dinner jacket came about, it was traditionaly left open for that reason (that - and the earliest dinner jackets were simply modifications of the tail coat, and thus not really closeable). Furthermore, I think the cummerbund evolved from the sashes worn with some military formal dress uniforms (which also were left open to reveal the sash). Some people today (but not that many) absolutely hold that the dinner jacker should be left open. Most people, knowledgeably or otherwise, close it like a business suit (only opening it to sit). In any given group of tux wearers, most men will have it closed. Probably, mostly because "that's how you wear a suit jacket." When you get your picture taken on a cruise ship, the photographer will button your jacket. when you look at James Bond in his tux, it will likely be buttoned.
My feeling is that it is a disappearing, but proper, custom to wear it unbuttoned. But in a really, really, formal black tie environment (like you are meeting the President), it would be advisable to just do what everyone else is doing (or what your host does).